Adoption and use of social media in academic libraries in South Africa

Keywords: Libraries, social media, South Africa


The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent of adoption and use of social media for client support by academic libraries in South Africa. A survey and content analysis were concurrently used to obtain relevant data to achieve the objectives of the study. The target population comprised seventy-eight library workers from twenty-six institutions, consisting of administrators of social media, librarians and IT technicians. A total of forty-eight respondents completed and returned the questionnaires, which were then analysed using descriptive statistics. Results revealed that a variety of social media platforms are available and used in most libraries in South Africa; the most common platforms are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs. The social media platforms are used to market library services, announce library news and improve service delivery. The information shared with the users relates to user information, library events and new services. Most libraries do not have policies and/or guidelines specific to the management of social media usage. Library workers associated many benefits with social media platforms, but diverse factors affect the adoption and use of social media in the libraries. The study makes several recommendations in relation to the adoption and use of social media in libraries and for further research in the subject domain.

Author Biographies

Benford Rabatseta, North-West University
Senior Librarian - Library and Information Services at the North-West University, South Africa
Jan R Maluleka, University of South Africa
Associate Professor, Department of Information Science, University of South Africa
Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha, University of South Africa
Research Professor,Department of Information Science,University of South Africa



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